INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is making changes to its appointment system following complaints about delays in the gun permit process.
A viewer contacted WRTV Investigates asking why he had to wait until the end of June to get a fingerprinting appointment at the City County Building.
“I think this is absolutely ridiculous as other local police departments can process these in a fraction of that time,” wrote Alan in an email to WRTV.
Michael Thomaston visited the IMPD Citizens’ Service Office at the City County Building to get his fingerprints taken, one of the last steps toward getting his gun permit.
“I want it for safety,” said Thomaston.
IMPD is required to run a criminal history check on people who live in their jurisdiction — it’s all part of the process to get your state license to carry a firearm.
Thomaston said the process of getting an appointment was a big hassle.
“It’s very irritating because the appointment process is hectic, it’s long,” said Thomaston. “I was gonna have to wait until June 29th to get in. Somebody told me to come in today from 3-to-4 p.m."
WRTV Investigates tried using the app to make an appointment at the IMPD Citizens’ Service Office, but we couldn’t find anything through the end of April and the app wouldn’t let us look any further out.
We took viewer concerns to IMPD Assistant Chief Chris Bailey.
“I don't know the average wait time, but I know there is a delay,” said Bailey.
Bailey explained there are many reasons for the delay in getting a fingerprinting appointment.
IMPD saw a huge uptick in gun permit applications after the 2020 COVID-19 shut down.
Before the shut down in 2020, people submitted 900 applications per month.
After the shut down in 2020, that number shot up to 3,000 applications submitted per month.
Add to that, IMPD has three openings right now for staff to handle fingerprinting.
"Like anyone else, we are having trouble finding people willing to do that work,” said Bailey.
Plus, the state of Indiana eliminated fees for a lifetime license to carry.
“So not only do we have the people who were waiting because of COVID, we have all the people now rushing to get the free lifetime permit,” said Bailey. "The legislature made it an unfunded mandate. Everybody gets a free license. They didn't then pass money to us to account for it."
To cut down on long lines, IMPD went to an appointment system, which has also been problematic.
"We schedule every five minutes during the day,” said Bailey. “People don't show up for their appointments. Last Monday, nine out of the 10 people who signed up failed to show up so that's putting everyone behind."
IMPD is working on a solution.
They're planning to increase the number of appointments by 33 percent.
“If that's not enough we will continue to look at it,” said Bailey. “We have walk-ins at 3 p.m. every day Monday through Friday so that's a way you can help us help you."
IMPD hopes adding more appointments will make a difference.
They just ask that you be patient, stick to your appointment, and if you can’t make it, please cancel so someone else can take your spot.
Also, if you already have a valid permit that won’t expire for a few years, hold off on getting your lifetime permit.
“That will help keep the system from clogging up,” said Bailey.
IMPD says they send the information to Indiana State Police who then performs a national criminal history check and can issue the state gun license.
IMPD says in 2020, they transmitted 20,177 applications with an Indianapolis address to Indiana State Police.
In 2021, IMPD transmitted 12,945 applications with an Indianapolis address to Indiana State Police.
IMPD Citizens' Service Office:
- Monday - Friday: 8 a.m.-3 p.m. (By Appointment Only)
- 3-3:45 p.m. (Walk-Ins)
- Noon-12:45 p.m. (Closed)
To check the date and time of your scheduled appointment, reschedule an appointment, or cancel your appointment, go to https://qless.com/download-app/ on your android or apple device to access the Qless scheduling app.